A Liberal's Manifesto

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Billy Hathorn || Wikimedia Commons

Yes, I am a liberal, and despite the fact that many Poles consider this word a slap in the face, I don”t feel ashamed by making this statement (let”s treat it as a sort of political “coming out”). Why am I writing about it now? Well, because after the campaign “Secular School” has been launched, I got bored with constantly explaining the differences between a liberal and a leftwinger.

What do I understand by being a liberal? It”s a belief in individual”s freedom to self-determination, economic freedom and in freedom in general. Of course, freedom always comes with some boundaries – for me there are two of paramount importance: taking into consideration the freedom and rights of other people and reason.

I support economic freedom, with little regulations – so uncharacteristic for Poland. I advocate lower taxes (and, more importantly, “easier” taxes), reducing other burdens for entrepreneurs and, in consequence, a less cost-effective and bureaucratic state. A state that trusts its citizens. I also don”t want to finance unremunerative mines and secure farmers from a potential slump from our taxes (if their problems are not a direct result of state policy). I don”t think that state is responsible for everyone, although it definitely should offer help to minors in need, the sick or the disabled.

State should finance from the budget and other revenues primarily services indispensable to its residents: education, healthcare, culture (to some extent), infrastructure, administration and security. I”m not a radical liberal, I”m not in favour of complete privatisation of education and health insurance markets as, on the one hand, our society cannot afford this, and on the other, children shall have the right to education (or to treatment) regardless of the financial situation of their parents.

Ideologically, I support an individual”s right to civil partnership both, for homo- and heterosexuals, to in vitro in line with medical procedure codes and not with norms determined by politicians, to a free access to contraception and to morning-after pill, as well as to legal abortion. But most importantly, as a parent and a person related to the education sector, I am a supporter of a secular state school. It doesn”t mean that I am against Catholic Church – I am simply an advocate of freedom of belief, separate religious schools best online casino and the right to raise a child in line with a parent”s own beliefs. I believe, however, that the latter should take place outside of public school and it should not be funded from public money. Market of educational services offers different types of schools: private, social, religious and public, and the latter should be free from religion lessons. As regards the rest, the decision should be up to parents and school authorities. Public school should be secular (key arguments for this thesis are presented in my another article It’s High Time to Get Religion Out of Schools”).

Although there”s not much space in public discourse in Poland for such beliefs as mine, I do believe that we do need them, as there”s always plenty people to redistribute the money but we lack people who understand that we owe economic growth to companies (especially small ones) and not to the laud trade unions. In politics, in charge are supporters of restricting the rights of an individual and introducing regulations, and there are no advocates of respecting one”s right for thinking on one”s own or of principles of one”s own faith. Simply put, Poland lacks liberals.

An article by Katarzyna Laubnauer was originally published in Polish at liberte.pl

Translation: Olga Łabendowicz

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